UPDATE 2:15 PM CST — Head coach Lovie Smith released the following statement regarding the situation:
UPDATE 11:42 AM CST — Looks like there’s a third player, Howard Watkins, involved as well.
BREAKING: Now 3 #Illini FB players arrested on identical charges. Howard (HoJo) Watkins also in custody on home invasion/armed robbery— Bret Beherns (@WCIA3Bret) May 10, 2017
Illinois football’s Darta Lee, Zarrian Holcombe and Howard Watkins were arrested and booked at Champaign County Jail on Wednesday morning for charges of home invasion and armed robbery.
A spokesman has already informed Illini Inquirer’s Jeremy Werner that the team is still gathering information on the arrests, and that the program is “allowing the process to play out.”
Lee played in a total of 6 games as a true-freshman, including 2 starts on the offensive line. The 6-foot-3, 320-pound guard joined the Fighting Illini in 2016 as a three-star prospect out of Texas.
Holcombe, another Texas native, spent his freshman season splitting time at tight end and wide receiver. Watkins was a three-star offensive lineman who joined the Illini as an early-enrollee from Cincinnati.
The three are expected to appear in Champaign County court tomorrow at 1:30 PM.
#Illini Darta Lee, Zarrian Holcombe, Howard Watkins will appear in Champaign Co. court Thurs. at 1:30 on home invastion/armed robbery charge— Bret Beherns (@WCIA3Bret) May 10, 2017
We’ll be sure to update this story if/when more news regarding the situation breaks.